Letter: SNAP helps Louisianians eat

Hunger is a major problem in Louisiana. That’s why I would like to take a moment to recognize Congressman Cedric Richmond for the support he has shown for Second Harvest Food Bank and for anti-hunger programs. A couple of weeks ago, the congressman co-sponsored a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that opposes cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps).

SNAP is a true safety-net program. It helps put food on the table for thousands of Louisiana residents.

Eighty-three percent of families receiving benefits live in poverty, with incomes below $19,530 for a family of three.

Yet the average SNAP benefit is a mere $1.50 per person, per meal.

Meanwhile, increased efficiency and quality control has reduced payment error to the lowest in the history of the program.

Even with SNAP and the charitable response to hunger:

One in six individuals in our state does not always know where their next meal is coming from.

More than 250,000 of these individuals are children.

In my opinion, no child living in our great country should go to bed hungry at night. No parent should have to worry about how they are going to put food on the table. Yet this is the reality for thousands of our neighbors on a daily basis.

Consider the story of Brian, a single father of three who works construction. Even with his day job, he lacks the necessary money to pay rent and buy food for his family. He took time out of his busy schedule to seek out additional resources for his family by applying for SNAP.

Unfortunately, Brian’s story is all too common. But with an efficient and productive public-private partnership, we can take steps to end hunger in our community. Congressman Richmond has expressed his commitment to help those citizens struggling to put food on the table. I thank him for his strong support of SNAP and other vital anti-hunger initiatives.

And, while we continue to recover from recession, I ask you to let your legislators know that a strong SNAP program is critical for a healthy and productive Louisiana.

Roy Zuppardo

retail grocer

Metairie